ANG isang U.S. citizen (USC) ay maaaring mag-file ng petition upang madala ang kanyang fiancé(e) bilang K1 nonimmigrant at magpakasal sila sa US. Kailangang maipakita ng USC ang mga sumusunod: (1) sila ay nagkita ng personal sa loob ng 2 taon bago i-file ang fiancé(e) petition (2-year requisite period); (2) sila ay may totoong intensyon na magpakasal; (3) sila ay maaari at legal na pwedeng magpakasal sa US sa loob ng 90 araw mula sa pagdating ng beneficiary bilang K1 nonimmigrant.
Ang USCIS ay may discretion upang mag-waive ng requirement ng personal na pagkikita ng USC petitioner at ng beneficiary kung ang personal na pagkikita ay magdudulot ng lubos na pagpapahirap o extreme hardship sa petitioner, o kung ang kanilang personal na pagkikita ay magiging labag sa mga mahigpit na mga kaugalian, kultura, o mga kasanayan ng lipunan ng beneficiary. Sa determinasyon ng USCIS ng extreme hardship ng petitioner, tinitingnan ng USCIS kung sa loob ng 2-year requisite period ay may mga pangyayari na (1) wala sa kontrol o di mapipigilan ng petitioner; at (2) ang mga pangyayaring ito na wala sa kontrol ng petitioner ay magtatagal.
Sa isang kasong napagdesisyonan ng Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), ang petitioner ay nag-file ng fiancée petition noong Agosto 2015. Kaya’t kailangang nagkita sila ng personal ng beneficiary mula Agosto 2013 hanggang Agosto 2015. Sinabi ng petitioner na hindi siya nakapagbiyahe upang personal na makipagkita sa beneficiary dahil siya ay full-time na estudyante ng isang unibersidad, siya ay Arizona National Guard, at siya rin ay nasa US Army ROTC. Ang petitioner ay hindi rin nakapagbiyahe sa mga dahilang pinansyal at pangkalusugan. Ibinigay ng petitioner sa USCIS ang kanyang university transcript, uniformed service identification card, at medical records na magpapakita na siya ay nagkaroon ng back injury noong Hulyo 2015. Dahil sa back injury, ang petitioner ay nagkaroon siya ng limitadong paggalaw, sinundan pa ng surgery at 6 linggong pagpapagaling.
Sinabi ng AAO na hindi napatunayan ng petitioner ang extreme hardship na naging balakid sa kanyang pakikipagkita ng personal sa beneficiary sa requisite 2-year period.
Hindi siya nagbigay ng kanyang mga dokumentong pinansyal para patunayan na siya ay walang pera para magbiyahe. Hindi rin naipakita ng petitioner kung paano naging balakid sa pakikipagkita sa beneficiary ang kanyang pagpasok sa unibersidad, kung may mga obligasyon niya sa National Guard na humadlang sa kanyang pagbiyahe sa loob ng 2-year requisite period, at kung paano naging hadlang ang kanyang back injury sa pakikipagkita sa beneficiary. Ayon din sa AAO, kung hindi makapagbiyahe ang petitioner para makita ng personal ang beneficiary, maaari namang ang beneficiary ang magbiyahe upang makipagkita sa petitioner. Ngunit hindi nila ginawa ito. Dahil hindi naipakita ang extreme hardship, hindi naaprubahan ang waiver ng personal na pagkikita ng petitioner at beneficiary at ang fiancée petition ay hindi naaprubahan. Sinabi ng AAO na maaaring mag-refile na lang ang petitioner ng fiancée petition kapag siya ay nakasunod na sa lahat ng mga alituntunin tungkol dito.
A U.S. citizen (USC) may petition to bring a fiancé(e) to the U.S. under K1 nonimmigrant classification. The USC must establish that the parties (1) have previously met in person within 2 years before the date of filing the fiancé(e) petition (2-year requisite period), (2) have a bona fide intent to marry, and (3) are legally able and actually willing to conclude a valid marriage in the US within 90 days of the beneficiary’s admission as a K-1 nonimmigrant.
USCIS maintains the discretion to waive the requirement of an in-person meeting between the two parties if compliance would either result in extreme hardship to the petitioner, or violate strict and long-established customs of the beneficiary’s foreign culture or social practice. When determining whether extreme hardship prevented a petitioner from meeting beneficiary, USCIS looks at whether during the 2-year period, there existed any circumstances that were (1) not within the power of the petitioner to control or change; and (2) likely to last for a considerable duration or the duration could not have been determined with any degree of certainty.
In a case decided by the Administrative Appeals Office, the petitioner filed the fiancée petition in August 2015 and was therefore required to have met the beneficiary in person at some point from August 2013 to August 2015. The petitioner asserted that he was unable to travel to see the beneficiary because he is a full-time university student, is in the Arizona National Guard, and is in the U.S. Army ROTC. Furthermore, petitioner alleged that he was unable to travel due to financial and health reasons. He submitted his university transcripts and uniformed service identification card. Petitioner also submitted his medical records showing he suffered back injury in July 2015, subsequently had limited functional activity, and underwent surgery followed by a 6-week recovery period.
The AAO found that petitioner had not established that extreme hardship prevented him from meeting the beneficiary within the required time period. He did not submit financial documentation to support his assertion that he was unable to travel due to financial reasons, and there was no evidence in the records showing how petitioner’s academic or National Guard responsibilities prevented him from travelling to personally meet the beneficiary during the requisite 2-year period. The AAO found that although petitioner’s medical records showed that he was injured in July 2015, he did not present evidence that such injury prevented him from travelling. It was also not shown why the beneficiary herself did not travel to meet with petitioner. As petitioner was unable to show extreme hardship that prevented him from meeting the beneficiary within the 2-year period prior to the filing of the fiancée petition, the fiancée petition was denied. However, this is without prejudice to the filing of another fiancée petition at a future date once statutory requirements are met.
ATTY. RHEA SAMSON is the principal of SAMSON LAW FIRM, P.C. She has been a member of the State Bar of California for over 15 years and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for over 20 years. Atty. Samson received her Legal Management degree from the Ateneo de Manila University and her Juris Doctor degree from the Ateneo Law School. She was a Professor for over 10 years, teaching Obligations and Contracts, Labor Laws and Social Legislation and Taxation Law. Atty Samson is the author of The Law on Obligations and Contracts (2016), Working with Labor Laws-Revised Edition (2014) and Working with Labor Laws (2005).
SAMSON LAW FIRM, P.C., 3580 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1710, Los Angeles, CA 90010; Phone: (213) 274-4561; Email: [email protected]